NORTH CHARLESTON, SC — Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the US Senate, announced Monday that he will run for president.
“Joe Biden and the radical left are attacking every rung of the ladder that helped me climb,” Scott said. «And that is why I am announcing today that I am running for President of the United States of America.»
Scott’s offer has been months in the making, having teased his announcement in recent weeks, first announcing an exploratory committee in April and then officially submitting paperwork Friday to execute. He joins a rapidly expanding field of contenders seeking to topple former President Donald Trump, the current Republican front-runner who holds a commanding lead in Republican primary polls.
Scott was first appointed to the South Carolina Senate in 2012, by the then-Governor. Nikki Haley, now a presidential rival, to replace retired Sen. Jim DeMint. Scott later won elections to fill the remainder of his term in 2014 and won full terms in 2016 and again last year. Scott’s political career began on the Charleston County Council in the mid-1990s before serving in the State House and the United States House of Representatives.
With Scott and Haley, there are now two high-profile politicians from South Carolina in the Republican race. After her governorship, Haley served in the Trump administration as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. South Carolina’s early primary has long been considered one of the most important on the presidential nominating calendar.
During a campaign call with reporters last week, Scott’s top officials detailed their theory of the case about why their candidate can win, touting him as uniquely qualified for the job and a messenger who can win over independents and Democrats without deviate from conservative politics. positions. Scott’s fundraising ability will also give him an advantage, these officials said.
Scott will not deviate from the hot cultural issues during the primary, but will instead seek to run a more positive campaign that highlights the grievances and victimhood promoted in both parties, senior campaign officials said.
While voters shouldn’t expect Scott to walk out the door attacking former President Donald Trump, the current GOP presidential front-runner, Scott has already talked about the need for the party to nominate someone who can defeat the Democrats next fall. , an implicit opportunity. to Trump that some of his rivals have already done.
«People want a fighter, that’s good, but they also want to win, that’s better,» Scott told reporters last month in Iowa. «So the real question is, how do we do that? One of the ways we What we do is make sure our message is in sync with the nation.»
A NBC News poll conducted in mid-April found Scott tied with Haley at 3%, behind Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam co-chairs Scott’s campaign, and has been bolstered by endorsements from Republican Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune, both from South Dakota. But while many of his fellow Republicans in the Senate feel well toward Scott, most were unwilling to officially endorse his campaign in talks with NBC News.
Scott, whose voting record ranks Among the party’s most conservative senators, he has traveled to early voting states in recent months, traversing Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as part of a «listening tour» as his campaign began to catch on. view. In mid-April, Scott toured all three states meet with voters, key activists and donors.
During a February event in Charleston, Scott detailed his personal story of overcoming childhood poverty and offered hints at the tenets of a potential presidential agenda: promoting opportunity zones, conservative police reform, reining in federal spending and enacting election policies. of schools.
“There is a way for us to unify this country around the basic principles that carry us forward, but we have to get past the lie that this is the worst time in American history, if only American history began. today,» Scott said.
At one point, Scott suggested that conservatives are under siege and increasingly subject to discrimination. His comments drew loud applause.
“Listen, I understand how it feels to be treated like a second-class citizen because of the color of my skin,” Scott said. «I refuse to be considered a second-class citizen because of the color of my party.»
Scott is one of the few top-tier challengers to Trump who owes part of his political success neither to a job in the Trump administration nor to an endorsement that helped him through a disputed primary.
Posting on your Truth Social platform On Monday, Trump wished Scott «good luck» in his attempt and took the opportunity to punch DeSantis.
«He’s loading up fast with a lot of people, and Tim is a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally ineligible,» Trump added. «I finished Opportunity Zones with Tim, a great deal that has been very successful. Good luck Tim!»
The South Carolina senator also enters the presidential race with more than $20 million in cash on hand, giving him an advantage over many of his rivals. Scott, who will travel to Iowa and New Hampshire after its launch on Monday, has already placed a $6 million television and radio ad buy that he will begin in those states on Wednesday.